Quickie Week 2 NFL picks

I was pathetic last week, finishing below .500 straight up and against the spread. I probably should have my picks status revoked, but luckily (or unluckily if you actually used my picks for anything besides toilet paper) I get another chance.

Here it goes. I’m going to wait on the Baltimore-Houston game just to make sure it goes off as scheduled.

Oakland (+3.5) at Kansas City – Kansas City 23, Oakland 17
Tennessee (even) at Cincinnati – Cincinnati 21, Tennessee 17
Indianapolis (-2) at Minnesota – Minnesota 24, Indianapolis 20
New Orleans (even) at Washington – New Orleans 27, Washington 21
Green Bay (-3) at Detroit – Green Bay 28, Detroit 13
Chicago (+3) at Carolina – Chicago 20, Carolina 14
N.Y. Giants (-8.5) at St. Louis – New York 27, St. Louis 13
Buffalo (+5) at Jacksonville – Jacksonville 19, Buffalo 17
Atlanta (+7) at Tampa Bay – Tampa Bay 24, Atlanta 12
San Francisco (+7) at Seattle – Seattle 23, San Francisco 20
Miami (+6.5) at Arizona – Arizona 27, Miami 16
New England (+1.5) at N.Y. Jets – New England 16, N.Y. Jets 14
San Diego (-1) at Denver – San Diego 28, Denver 24
Pittsburgh (-6) at Cleveland – Cleveland 24, Pittsburgh 23
Philadelphia (+6.5) at Dallas – Philadelphia 28, Dallas 25

Straight up: 7-8. Against the spread: 5-10.

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Week 3 College football picks

We suffered a bit last week after a good week one, but I’m confident that Week 3 will be the one that gets us on track. Or at least I think I am.

Ohio State (+11) at USC
For a game that’s been hyped as much as the Buckeyes-Trojans tilt has been this week, the spread is more similar to a game between, say, TCU and Stanford. I figure Vegas is still impressed by USC’s beatdown of Virginia and skeptical of the Buckeyes’ lackluster performance against Ohio. Add in the West Coast theory (Eastern team travelling west) and you have a lopsided spread.
I have been hemming and hawing about this game, first picking the Buckeyes – on an aside, Beanie Wells will be playing, I don’t care what Ohio State says his status is – then switching to the Trojans. After some deliberation, that’s where I’ll stay. After UCLA’s win over Tennessee, I’m not going against the West Coast Theory ever again.
USC 31, Ohio State 17

UCLA (+8) at BYU
It’s been quite a week-and-a-half since the Bruins played Tennessee. First, coach Rick Neuheisel attempted to make a helicopter landing at Los Osos to watch Grizzlies QB Richard Brehaut and Bishop Amat DB Sheldon Price, both Bruin verbal commits. Then UCLA’s opponent, BYU, wins partially because of an egregious unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against Washington QB Jake Locker on an apparently game-tying score with two seconds left.
What does this mean? I have no idea. This game is a tossup as far as the spread is concerned.
BYU 28, UCLA 19

Oregon (-8) at Purdue
The next two games are the opposite of the West Coast Theory, as Pac-10 teams head east to play seemingly overmatched opponents. Traveling to Big Ten country won’t intimidate the Ducks, who destroyed Michigan in a similar situation last year. This Oregon team is rolling, scoring 109 points in its first two games, and while Purdue has weapons, Oregon will be too much.
Oregon 41, Purdue 28

California (-14.5) at Maryland
The interesting thing about this game is the start time. This matchup will be kicking off at noon eastern, meaning it will be 9 a.m. on the bodies of the Bears. Drowsiness will be the only thing that can hold Cal back in this, as the Terps are fresh off a loss to Middle Tennessee State. After some groggyness, Cal will cover.
California 31, Maryland 13

Oklahoma (-20.5) at Washington
I really feel for the Huskies. One of the best programs on the West Coast (arguably second in the Pac-10 behind USC historically) has turned into a mere footnote on the schedule. Back in the day, this game would have been a pretty hyped intersectional bash. But back in the day, I was in elementary school. The U-Dub players will likely wish they were back in elementary school after this game.
Oklahoma 37, Washington 13

Stanford (+13.5) at TCU
This game will likely be played pretty quickly, as its already been moved up into the morning because of Hurricane Ike, which should still be pretty strong when it hits the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The weather conditions should be windy, meaning that Norco grad Toby Gerhart will get his share of carries for the Cardinal. It’s a tough spot for Stanford, but I think they’ll barely cover.
TCU 27, Stanford 17

Kansas (+3.5) at South Florida
The second-best non-conference game this week happens tonight, when the majority of us will be at various high school football games. The Jayhawks haven’t been as explosive on offense yet this season, but the D looks good. However, South Florida is tough on D and have an athletic QB in Matt Grothe that can turn chicken spit into chicken salad, as they say. Going with the Bulls.
South Florida 29, Kansas 21

Wisconsin (-2) at Fresno State
Technically, the West Coast theory isn’t as strong with this game, as Wisconsin is in the Central time zone. However, these are the type of games that Fresno State coach Pat Hill has made his living on. He loves taking on the big boys and, more often than not, beating them. He’s beaten the Badgers in the past and I’m confident that he’ll beat them now.
Fresno State 23, Wisconsin 21

Michigan (-2) at Notre Dame
One of the great early-season rivalries in college football has been reduced to mediocrity for the second straight year. Last week in this space, I said that I didn’t trust Notre Dame as any kind of favorite – an impulse that served me well. However, Michigan hasn’t exactly lit the world on fire with its 114th-ranked offense. However, the Wolverine pass rush has destroyed ND the last two years and should be the difference in this one.
Michigan 17, Notre Dame 13

Georgia (-7) at South Carolina
I will admit, this spread is throwing me off. The Bulldogs have looked just as good as USC in their first two games, while South Carolina struggled with a bad N.C. State team and lost to Vanderbilt. I really can’t fathom any reason why this spread is so small and while Vegas may know something, I can’t see the Gamecocks sticking in this game.
Georgia 26, South Carolina 10

Overall record: 16-4. Record against spread: 10-10

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Week 1 high school picks

I got off to a good start last week with a 13-3 record. Let’s see if we can’t pick it up a bit more this week.

Los Osos at Cajon
This should be a fun matchup, as there is Division I-level talent dotting both sidelines. Cajon proved a lot last week by going down to Orange County and shellacking El Toro, but I like the battle-tested Grizzlies to have the edge.
Los Osos 27, Cajon 23

Riverside North at Redlands East Valley
A veritable battle of heavyweights here, as you have a two-time CIF championship North team going against the only team to defeat it during that run. There’s also a student-teacher dynamic going on, as new North coach Scott Pearne assisted under Kurt Bruich at REV from 2002-04. I’ll take the home team in a complete toss-up.
REV 23, North 21

Silverado at Serrano
This is typically one of the fiercer desert battles, with Silverado typically the class of the Desert Sky and Serrano a Mojave River League force. While the Hawks should win the DSL again, going into Snowline Stadium and winning at this point of the season seems like too tall an order.
Serrano 34, Silverado 10

Miller at Palmdale Highland
Highland gave up over 400 yards rushing to Barstow. That means that the Rebels, especially junior running back David Dash, should have a field day. Look for Miller to put up some ridiculous yardage totals while winning going away.
Miller 44, Highland 20

Colton at Vista Murrieta
The Yellowjackets come into their opener with perhaps the most inexperienced team of the Harold Strauss era, as they return only five starters and are green in the trenches. Against a Vista Murrieta team that ruined Redlands’ stadium opener, that’s not a good thing.
Vista Murrieta 28, Colton 16

Apple Valley at Kaiser
Molloy Stadium on the campus of Kaiser High School opens with a pretty good game, as the Sun Devils and Cats are both ground-oriented, hard-hitting squads. Don’t expect many passes in this game, but expect the Cats to open up the stadium – and the last season for legendary coach Dick Bruich – with a hard-nosed win.
Kaiser 19, Apple Valley 13

Arroyo Valley at Hemet West Valley
The Hawks were impressive last week in winning at Pasadena and will try to pull off another road non-league win against West Valley, the No. 5-ranked team in the Central Division. Arroyo, ranked ninth, will play tough, but I don’t see a second road win coming Friday.
West Valley 28, Arroyo Valley 25

Hesperia at San Gorgonio
The Spartans are eager to get 2008 going and erase the bad memories from a trying 2-7 season that saw coach Randy Stevens suffer from a tear in his stomach lining. However, Hesperia is coming off perhaps the most successful year in school history and have plenty coming back. That will rule in a close game.
Hesperia 20, San Gorgonio 14

Barstow at Rialto
Two of the three winners that I missed last week are in this game. Sorry fellas. Anyway, a 2-0 start would be huge for both of these teams, one with a new coach (Barstow) and the other who has already equaled their win total from a year ago (Rialto). I’ll go with the home team in what should be quite a battle.
Rialto 23, Barstow 22

Big Bear at Aquinas (Saturday)
This is one of the better small-school rivalries in the area, but its one that has been dominated by Big Bear, which has won the last four meetings between the schools. Both teams look potent at QB, with Tyler Stirewalt (Aquinas) and Craig Hall (Big Bear) capable of big days. I’ll pick Aquinas to break the streak.
Aquinas 30, Big Bear 27

Other games of note:
Granite Hills 24, Rubidoux 7
Alta Loma 26, Carter 13
Chino 36, Pacific 9
Redlands 25, Clovis East 20
Eisenhower 31, Riverside Patriot 19
Fontana 28, Banning 24
Summit 21, Hemet Tahquitz 12
Jurupa Valley 27, San Bernardino 15
Lancaster Eastside 21, Victor Valley 16
Bloomington 30, Ontario 13
Palm Desert 33, Sultana 21
Moreno Valley Rancho Verde 38, Yucaipa 17
Rim of the World 34, Desert Hot Springs 13
San Jacinto 27, Yucca Valley 14
Twentynine Palms 28, Riverside Notre Dame 26
Arrowhead Christian 15, Webb 6

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Big Bear-Aquinas on Saturday

While various websites (maxpreps.com and calpreps.com) have the Big Bear-Aquinas game on Friday, it is on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. according to the schedule on the school’s website. While we’ll call tomorrow for confirmation (little late to call tonight), fans should prepare being at Aquinas High School on Saturday rather than Friday.

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Week 2 top 25

Here’s my late college top 25. Note East Carolina as a fast riser.

1. USC (1) – Trojans had a bye, but its still hard to forget how complete their destruction of Virginia was.

2. Georgia (2) – Looked very good in a rout of a pretty solid Central Michigan team.

3. Oklahoma (4) – Sooners get props in hanging half-a-hundy against a pretty-good Cincinnati team. They definitely deserved to jump up.

4. Ohio State (3) – Looked pretty bad against Ohio U, trailing going into the final quarter as 34-point favorites. However, all will be forgetten if the Buckeyes beat USC Saturday.

5. Florida (5) – The 23-point win over Miami wasn’t nearly as decisive as it looked. However, always good to get one over a rival.

6. Missouri (6) – The Tigers whupped Missouri Southern. Big deal.

7. LSU (7) – Defending national champs didn’t play because of damage from Hurricane Gustav. Now their game this week against North Texas might be moved.

8. Auburn (9) – Tigers have good D and their offense showed signs. Definitely a team to watch.

9. Texas (10) – First team since Florida without Tigers as a mascot. Also have been efficient in steamrolling two overmatched opponents.

10. Texas Tech (11) – The Red Raiders showed some good defense in beating Nevada. If they can continue with that, Tech could be a player in the Big 12.

11. Wisconsin (12) – Marshall was feeling all cocky after going up 14-0 early. Too bad the Badgers threw down 51 straight points after that.

12. Kansas (13) – The Jayhawks’ offense gets almost all the pub, but the defense ruled the day in a 29-0 shutout of Louisiana Tech. They have an interesting matchup with South Florida Friday.

13. Alabama (14) – I guess after the big win over Clemson, it was normal for the Tide to have a letdown against Tulane. But efforts like Saturday’s won’t keep them this high for long.

14. Arizona State (15) – Nice, decisive win over a spunky Stanford team. ASU might be the biggest Pac-10 threat to USC.

15. East Carolina (25) – I threw the Pirates a bone after their win over Va. Tech. After their whupping of previous No. 8 West Virginia, its clear that East Carolina wants a little bit more to chew on.

16. Oregon (17) – The Ducks’ offense seems to be doing pretty well without either Dennis Dixon or Nathan Costa, putting up 109 points in Oregon’s first two games.

17. BYU (16) – The Cougars get penalized for the cheap way that their one-point win over Washington went down. The official that penalized Jake Locker for celebrating should be embarrassed.

18. South Florida (18) – In one of the most overlooked, yet most entertaining games, of the weekend, the Bulls beat Central Florida in OT. USF has a chance to salvage Big East pride against the Jayhawks.

19. Wake Forest (19) – In another great game, the Demon Deacons beat Ole Miss in the final seconds. Its amazing how effective Wake is at maximizing its less-than-hyped talent.

20. Penn State (21) – Nittany Lions get some props for waxing Oregon State – or the Beavers get penalized for being truly horrible.

21. Clemson (20) – Giving up 17 points to The Citadel wasn’t what Clemson wanted after being waxed by Alabama.

22. Utah (22) – The Utes didn’t have much of a letdown after beating Michigan, dispatching UNLV 42-14.

23. California (23) – The Bears embarrassed Washington State 66-3 on the road. I think that says more about how truly bad Wazzu is though.

24. West Virginia (8) – The Mountaineers stay in the rankings – barely. Have to wonder how confident WVU fans are in new headman Bill Stewart after the 3-point effort against East Carolina.

25. Fresno State (25) – The Bulldogs have a great chance to prove their worth when they host Wisconsin Saturday.

On the cusp: UCLA, Illinois, Virginia Tech, Tennessee, Florida State.

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High school top 10

Here’s a more in-depth version of the Sun’s Top 10, which ran in the paper this morning. I’ll have this released earlier in the upcoming weeks.

1. Redlands East Valley (0-0)
I almost dropped the Wildcats from this perch, but felt like they should have the opportunity to defend that preseason ranking in a game before they do that. If REV can beat two-time defending CIF-SS Central champ Riverside North Friday, it will earn this ranking.

2. Upland (1-0)
After the way the Highlanders trashed Colony in Ontario on Friday, I almost convinced myself to have them jump REV. While Colony is young, a 42-7 win is a statement. Upland has another statement to make against Glendora, the team that eliminated it from the playoffs last year.

3. Serrano (1-0)
The Diamondbacks also made a definitive early statement, taking down a very good Paraclete team and moving up a spot in the process. They should continue to roll in their rivalry game with Silverado.

4. Los Osos (1-0)
The Grizzlies kept up with their Baseline League rivals with a nice victory over a traditionally strong Bishop Amat team. They have a tough road game at Cajon this week.

5. Miller (1-0)
Juan Flores’ first game at Miller went pretty well, while the defense looked stout in a 21-3 victory over Palm Springs. Both good signs for the Rebels.

6. Colton (0-0)
This might be the most intriguing game of the week from my perspective, as a relatively green Yellowjackets team has to go on the road to face a Vista Murrieta team fresh off ruining Redlands’ stadium debut.

7. Cajon (1-0)
The Cowboys have been slow starters traditionally, which makes their victory over El Toro on the road Friday that much more important. If they take out Los Osos, a top 5 ranking is imminent.

8. Colony (0-1)
Losing to Upland is nothing to be ashamed of. Losing 42-7 is something to be ashamed of. I guess I could have bounced the Titans out of the rankings altogether, but two straight CIF titles give Colony more rope than most.

9. Kaiser (0-0)
The last year of the Dick Bruich era starts with the grand opening of a brand-new on-campus stadium and a good game against the Sun Devils. Confidence is high at Kaiser.

10. Arroyo Valley (1-0)
This was the game I was at Friday and I was impressed by the hard-running of DeMarcus White and the discipline of the Hawks’ front seven defensively. White runs forward with very little wasted motion while the defense does a good job of funneling ball-carriers toward tacklers.

Others to watch: Hesperia (0-0), Chaffey (0-0), Redlands (0-1), Ayala (1-0).

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Week 1 NFL picks

I got busy with high school stuff and forgot to pick the Redskins-Giants game, so it will be a shortened slate this week. The first week is always one of the toughest to handicap, so here we go.

Cincinnati (-1.5) at Baltimore
I personally can’t wait for the debut of Chad Ocho Cinco. The fact that we have to refer to him in stories as that gives me a lot of joy. Seriously. I guess the Joe Flacco era in Baltimore is premiering too, but I’m not nearly as stoked about that.
Bengals 21, Ravens 13

N.Y. Jets (-3) at Miami
ESPN’s Mark Schlereth actually picked the Jets as a Super Bowl sleeper because of Brett Favre. I almost threw up in my mouth. Favre is a Hall of Fame and top 10 all-time QB, but I’m sick of hearing about him. Picking a minor upset here.
Dolphins 20, Jets 16

Kansas City (+15.5) at New England
Yep, the Patriots looked awful in the preseason. Yeah, apparently Brady has a sore foot. No, I don’t think the Chiefs have any shot to win. No, the fact that Upland graduate Tyron Brackenridge is on the team doesn’t change my mind.
Patriots 34, Chiefs 17

Houston (+6) at Pittsburgh
It’s too bad the Texans are in the brutal AFC South, because they are a playoff sleeper in any other division. Their defense is going to be a borderline killer. However, I can’t see the Steelers losing their home opener. Houston will cover though.
Steelers 23, Texans 21

Jacksonville (-3) at Tennessee
Two years ago, Vince Young was the hottest thing since sliced bread. Now, he looks barely able to run an NFL offense. However, VY was good enough to get the Titans to the playoffs last year and should be good enough to beat a distracted Jags team.
Titans 19, Jaguars 13

Detroit (-3) at Atlanta
It’s boggling to me that the Lions could ever be favored on the road. But for the second straight year, it’s happened. Of course, it helps when you are playing terrible teams like the Falcons in Week 1. Detroit covers this nicely.
Lions 24, Falcons 13

Seattle (+1) at Buffalo
At first, this line threw me for a loop. All I’ve heard about the Bills lately is their desire to move to Toronto at a later date. But Buffalo has been extremely scrappy (ask the Cowboys) and Seattle has every receiver but Nate Burleson nicked up. I’m going with Vegas on this.
Bills 21, Seahawks 17

Tampa Bay (+3) at New Orleans
Really tough game to call. On one hand, the Saints were forced to spend the entire week in Indianapolis because of Hurricane Gustav. However, the Saints tend to rock out in NO after returning from natural disasters. I think Tampa takes this, though I wouldn’t put money on this game unless my life depended on it.
Buccaneers 24, Saints 23

St. Louis (+8) at Philadelphia
The non-Cowboys hype out of the NFC East has been directed toward the Eagles, and for good reason. Donovan McNabb is 100 percent and the Eagles were one of the tougher outs during the last half of last season. St. Louis is kind of a mess, which is what this game will be.
Eagles 27, Rams 13

Dallas (-5.5) at Cleveland
This game should be the most entertaining of the weekend. Both the Cowboys and Browns can pass and score with the best of them, so expect the scoreboard at Cleveland Browns Stadium to get a workout. I have more faith in the Dallas D than the Dawg Pound though.
Cowboys 35, Browns 24

Carolina (+8.5) at San Diego
This was a tough matchup for the Panthers away. Without Steve Smith and with a still shaky Jake Delhomme, its near impossible. I can’t see any way the Panthers win this.
Chargers 28, Panthers 10

Arizona (-2.5) at San Francisco
I don’t know what it is, but the 49ers have some sort of hex on the Cardinals. San Francisco was putrid last year, but still grinded out two wins against an Arizona team that otherwise would have likely gone to the playoffs. You see where I’m going with this.
49ers 17, Cardinals 16

Chicago (+9.5) at Indianapolis
This rematch of Super Bowl XLI could be pretty boring. Who knows how healthy Peyton Manning really is and who knows if the Bears are capable of scoring on any defense in the NFL. I say the Colts grind out an ugly one.
Colts 20, Bears 10

Minnesota (+2.5) at Green Bay
Guess what the storyline here is going to be? If you guessed “Where’s Brett?”, you win. I’m not sure what you win besides my respect, but really, what more do you need? I’m guessing the Packers take this.
Packers 20, Vikings 14

Denver (-3) at Oakland
Both of these teams should be better than Kansas City. Besides that, I don’t know what to expect. Jay Cutler looks ready to roll, but has no one to throw to with the absence of Brandon Marshall. Even if Marshall was there, the Raiders’ 1-2 CB combo of Nnamdi Asomugha and DeAngelo Hall are fierce. I’m going with the home team.
Raiders 23, Broncos 20

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Week 2 college picks

I’m heading up to Michigan this weekend to see my alma mater, the University of Michigan, hopefully get its first win of the year. Don’t worry, I’m not going to make you read my assessment of that game. But after a 6-4 week, I’ll try to build on the good start.

Stanford (+14) at Arizona State
With USC and UCLA on byes this week, I’ll start with what has become a pretty intriguing matchup all of a sudden. Stanford got off to a great start last week, upsetting Oregon State thanks to the 147 yards rushing of Norco grad Toby Gerhart, while Arizona State, featuring Colony grad Omar Bolden at CB, is expected to challenge for the top 10. I don’t expect another upset from Stanford, but I do expect them to give the Sun Devils a fight.
Arizona State 35, Stanford 27

California (-13.5) at Washington State
Over the past few years, Cal has been one of those teams that seems to perform better on the road than at home. If you think about some of the big Cal games (the 2004 game they barely lost to USC, the 2007 thriller against Oregon), you realize that they usually happen on the road. That doesn’t bode well for a crappy Washington State team.
California 34, Washington State 14

Oregon State (+15) at Penn State
There were concerns over the Beaver D, concerns that were well-founded after watching Stanford hit up OSU for 36. Now the Beavers have to go clear across the country to face a Penn State team that put up 66 in its first game. However, that first game was against Coastal Carolina. With rain from Hurricane Hanna evening the playing field a bit, expect OSU to slop the game enough to cover.
Penn State 27, Oregon State 21

BYU (-9) at Washington
This seems like easy money. Stealing candy from a baby. Getting tickets to a Florida Marlins game. What ever analogy you choose to lose, its hard to envision Washington, fresh off being embarrassed by Oregon, being able to hang with the team that has the nation’s longest winning steak. Usually games that seem this cut-and-dried make me think, but I’m taking the advice of Crash Davis and Clay Fowler. Don’t think, just pick.
BYU 40, Washington 21

San Diego State (+22) at Notre Dame
This game really stinks from a bettor’s standpoint. On one hand you have the Fighting Irish, who were historically pathetic last year in going 3-9. On another hand you have the Aztecs, who somehow managed to lose to Cal Poly for the second straight year. My logic in this game is that Notre Dame somehow has to be better than it was last year, while San Diego State stinks something awful. But still, I can’t lay 22 points with Notre Dame until I see it play.
Notre Dame 28, San Diego State 12

West Virginia (-7.5) at East Carolina
This is a very interesting game. For the Mountaineers, ECU should provide a real defensive test toward Pat White and his new-found passing abilities (sorry, not buying Villanova as a real opponent, 5 TD passes or not). For the Pirates, this – coupled with their upset of Virginia Tech – could launch them into BCS-buster talk. Expect the Pirates to come out flying, but get worn down late.
West Virginia 34, East Carolina 17

Miami (Fla.) (+22.5) at Florida
Fun fact: Florida hasn’t beaten the Hurricanes since 1983. Another fun fact: The Canes have tortured the Gators this decade, defeating Florida in two bowls – 2001 Sugar and 2004 Peach – and overcoming a 23-point third quarter deficit to shock the Gators in their last regular-season meeting in 2003. Unfortunately for Miami, Florida knows all this and has the personnel to extract a really horrible payback. This could get bad quick.
Florida 41, Miami (Fla) 13

Cincinnati (+21.5) at Oklahoma
Brian Kelly is one of the best coaches that you’ve never heard of, as he led a downtrodden Central Michigan team to the top of the MAC before somehow extracting 10 wins out of the Bearcats in his first year in Cincy. When Notre Dame fires Charlie Weis, Kelly is a guy who the Irish will look at. Unfortunately, none of that matters against Oklahoma. The Sooners like to embarrass people early and will have their way with Cincy.
Oklahoma 45, Cincinnati 19

Georgia Tech (+7) at Boston College
The Pac-10 isn’t the only conference playing random early-September conference games, with the Yellow Jackets and Golden Eagles pulling that trick. Ga. Tech’s new triple-option offense went off nicely against Jacksonville State, but then again, its Jacksonville State. Boston College is one of those teams no one ever talks about that ends up doing pretty well. That statement should tell you where I”m going with this.
Boston College 24, Georgia Tech 14

Texas Tech (-10) at Nevada
Whatever the over is on this game when you bet it (currently 67.5), take it and don’t feel the least bit bad. The Red Raiders have been near the top of Division I in passing yards and touchdowns for about five years now, while the Wolfpack are explosive in their own right with sophomore dual-threat QB Colin Kaepernick. I think Tech has a little more D in its bag, but there will be fireworks.
Texas Tech 51, Nevada 42

Straight-up through one week: 8-2. Against the spread: 6-4.

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Week 0 high school picks

It seems like its been forever, but high school football is finally back in the Inland Empire. Quite frankly, I’m happy as a clam right now, probably even happier. So here we go.

Pacific at Summit
I’m feeling a pretty decent jump up in quality for the SkyHawks today. They are sitting on some talent in North Fontana and with a senior class, now is the time for Summit to break out and sit at the big-boy table. I like Oscar Torres’ attitude at Pacific, but its going to take some time to see progress.
Summit 27, Pacific 14

Upland at Colony
This is quite a heavyweight matchup for Week 0, the Inland Empire’s response to the Mater Dei-Carson game. I don’t expect a triple OT game, but I expect both of these teams to bring it. The Highlanders dealt two-time defending CIF champ Colony its last loss in Week 5 last year, something you know the Titans have discussed. I’ll look for Upland to repeat the favor in a classic.
Upland 27, Colony 24

Paraclete at Serrano
It’s going to be hopping in the desert tonight, as the Diamondbacks (11-1 last year) host Paraclete, which went one better in going 12-1. Expect a lot of hard-nosed, physical play in this game, with Serrano making enough plays to get a victory in front of the home crowd.
Serrano 23, Paraclete 21

Bishop Amat at Los Osos
These two teams played an instant classic last year, with the Grizzlies prevailing 41-38 in the final minutes. With Los Osos QB Richard Brehaut and RB Arby Fields back, expect more fireworks. I’ll take the hosts in another barnburner.
Los Osos 35, Bishop Amat 30

Palm Springs at Miller
A.J. Springer’s coming out party as first-team All-County QB for the Sun and as the Daily Bulletin’s All-Valley MVP came in this game, as he accounted for five touchdowns in a 35-18 win. Can new Rebel QB, junior Juan Flores, do the same? Maybe not, but with guys like junior RB David Dash, he won’t have to.
Miller 31, Palm Springs 14

Cajon at El Toro
This game came about pretty randomly, as Bloomington accidentally forsaked its contract with Cajon and scheduled El Toro. Per CIF rules, Cajon and El Toro were partnered together. Good thing too, as a trip to Orange County should be a good test for the Cowboys. I’ll take Cajon in another close one.
Cajon 28, El Toro 23

Vista Murrieta at Redlands
The opening of Dodge Field consists of one heck of a game, as Vista Murrieta has been atop the Southwestern League the last two years. Redlands finished only 3-7 last year, but returns 16 starters and gave the Broncos a run for their money a year ago. I’ll pick the home team…barely.
Redlands 20, Vista Murrieta 19

Arroyo Valley at Pasadena
This is an entertaining interdivisional matchup, as Marcus Soward makes his debut against a pretty solid Pasadena team. If the Hawks can get the passing game going to complement senior RB DeMarcus White and their hulking offensive line, they’ll be tough to beat.
Arroyo Valley 27, Pasadena 26

San Bernardino at Rialto
Anytime the CBL and SAL butt heads in the non-league season, it makes for a good time. Both of these teams are in their second year under their current coach and looking to make a move. I’ll take the SAL in this one.
San Bernardino 16, Rialto 10

Compton at Bloomington
The Tarbabes, thrown together at the last minute after a prospective game with El Toro fell through, will be a tall order for the new-look Bruins. While Bloomington will get its share of yards on the ground, Compton’s speed will be a little too much for the Bruins to handle in Tom Conner’s debut.
Compton 36, Bloomington 22

Other area predictions:
Aquinas 31, Costa Mesa Estancia 12
Gardena Serra 33, Silverado 20
Twentynine Palms 27, Indio 17
Palmdale Highland 14, Barstow 12
El Centro Central 26, Yucca Valley 10
Big Bear 38, Grace Brethren 26

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College top 25

A little new thing I’m doing this year is giving my top 25 for college football. I don’t have an AP vote or anything official like that, but this is how I see college football after week one.

1. USC – The offense was outstanding against Virginia. I expected the defense to be sweet right away, but I in no way expected the Trojans to hang half-a-hundy.

2. Georgia – Could be the most complete team right now, but injuries, namely to Knowshon Moreno, have the Bulldogs second.

3. Ohio State – Received a huge scare with Beanie Wells’ injury Saturday. He seems to be OK, though he likely won’t play next week against Ohio.

4. Oklahoma – I have one question for the Sooners after beating Chattanooga 57-2. How the heck did you give up a safety, of all things, as your only score allowed?

5. Florida – The Gators could average 45-50 points per game this year. The defense still is a question mark though.

6. Missouri – We all knew the Tigers could score with anyone. Giving up 42 points to Illinois, however, is somewhat concerning.

7. LSU – Congrats LSU. You avoided being App-Stated. I expect Lloyd Carr will be getting a thank you note in the mail this week.

8. West Virginia – Pat White actually passed for five touchdowns this week. That’s not a misprint. Then again, the Mountaineers were playing Villanova.

9. Auburn – The Tigers ran very effectively out of their new spread offense, blistering Louisiana-Monroe for well over 300 yards. The passing game needs to improve though.

10. Texas – Impressive opener for the Horns, taking out Sun Belt champ Florida Atlantic 52-10. Maybe Howard Schellenberger will think a second before calling the ‘Horns weak again.

11. Texas Tech – The Red Raiders got the win over Eastern Washington, but the 24 points given up have to be a cause for concern.

12. Wisconsin – We didn’t really learn much about the Badgers this week. They ran the ball a lot, which they always do, and have some defensive questions.

13. Kansas – Good opener for the Jayhawks. Then again, 99 percent of D1-A teams would say the same if they played Florida International.

14. Alabama – A big upward mover for good reason, as the Tigers blew out a Clemson team expected to win the ACC. Not a bad way to start year two of the Saban era.

15. Arizona State – Their starters outscored Northern Arizona 27-0. Their backups were outscored 13-3. Sun Devil fans better hope ASU stays healthy.

16. BYU – Guess who has the longest win streak in the country right now? Yep, that’s right, BYU. Northern Iowa marked 11 victories in a row.

17. Oregon – The Ducks made a statement this week, destroying Washington in the Pac-10 and season opener for both. In the process, they might have started the beginning of the end for Tyrone Willingham with the Huskies.

18. South Florida – The Bulls beat some overmatched team. Really hard to really gather any true insight.

19. Wake Forest – Yes, this is the first ACC team in the poll. Yes, that is not good for a BCS league. No, the Mountain West won’t replace the ACC in the BCS.

20. Clemson – Tigers take huge tumble after being smoked by Alabama Saturday. Definitely not the way the Tigers, who had national title aspirations, wanted to start.

21. Penn State – Joe Pa beat Coastal Carolina 66-10. Last time I had heard of the Chanticleers, they were led by Tony “Slam” Dunkin (yes, he actually found that nickname to be cool) and were getting smoked by the Fab Five in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

22. Utah – Utes get props for taking out my alma mater. Though they will need to tighten up on the penalties and turnovers, which almost allowed a Michigan comeback.

23. California – The Bears represented the Pac-10 quite nicely, turning away Michigan State in an entertaining game up on Strawberry Hill.

24. Fresno State – The Bulldogs went east and smoked Rutgers, 24-7, another loss in what was a forgettable opening week for the Big East.

25. East Carolina – I’m throwing the Pirates a bone after their big upset against Virginia Tech Saturday. They can further legitimize themselves this weekend against No. 8 West Virginia.

Just missed the cut: Boston College, UCLA, Virginia Tech.

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